The Green Party has decided to enter into government formation talks with Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael.
After weeks of deliberations, the party finally agreed to officially engage with the two parties on how to form the next government.
The party has been racked with internal turmoil over the decision to enter into talks but finally found agreement after a teleconference call this afternoon.
The Greens have been meeting every day via video link to discuss entering government talks after they were presented with Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael’s policy framework document.
They responded with a detailed list of 17 questions relating to climate change and other key Green issues such as ending direct provision.
Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael agreed with the majority of their demands but were reluctant to sign up to a 7pc per year reduction in carbon emissions.
Over the weekend, the Greens sought more information from Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael before agreeing to talks.
In a statement, the Green Party said they are “conscious of the huge challenges” facing the next Government in the wake of Covid-19 crisis.
“The party will now work with Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael to develop a deal that respects our mandate with a view to presenting that agreement to Green Party members for approval,” it added.
The party said a programme for government will require support of two-thirds of the Green Party voting membership.
“Any proposal must be transformative on climate action and commit to strong progress towards a more sustainable and fairer society,” it said.
“If this is not the case Green Party representatives will withdraw from negotiations and pursue their mandate in opposition and work to hold the government to account.
“The Green Party Leader Eamon Ryan will now seek a meeting with the Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael leadership to start the process,” it added.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has welcomed the statement from the Green Party today that it intends to start negotiations.
"We look forward to constructive discussions on a Programme for Government commencing in the coming days," Mr Varadkar said.
"This is a very welcome decision by the Green Party. Ireland needs a stable government to manage the remainder of the Covid emergency and to rebuild and renew our society and economy over the next five years.
"Working together we can help to deal with the challenges facing Ireland, including getting people back to work, re-opening businesses, investing in and transforming our health service, housing system, childcare, climate action, balanced regional development and enlivening communities in rural Ireland.
"We are also very aware that a hard Brexit within six months is a distinct possibility with all the challenges that would bring.
"We look forward to the forthcoming Programme for Government negotiations and believe that together our three parties can develop a programme that will deliver for the Irish people."
Fianna Fáil Leader Micheál Martin also welcomed the Green Party’s announcement.
“There is important legislation that needs to be passed to allow Irish businesses to access finance and there needs to be a government in place to do this,” Mr Martin said.
“I am also confident that together, with an agreed progressive Programme for Government we will have the opportunity to tackle, in a fundamental way, the biggest issues that are facing our people – Covid-19, the housing emergency, access to health services, child care and climate change. We must also not forget that a hard Brexit in six months is still looming.
“For our part, Fianna Fáil will be approaching the forthcoming Programme for Government negotiations constructively and confidently, determined to deliver on the mandate we have been given,” he added.